Mets have gotten more athletic this winter, but will it make a difference?
By Tim Boyle
The New York Mets have added several players known for their speed and athleticism this winter. While nice additions, has it made them much better?
The New York Mets have been one of the more active teams this offseason. Along with the bigger moves, they have made smaller ones, too.
Veteran outfielders Rajai Davis and Gregor Blanco agreed to minor league deals. The Mets also added Keon Broxton in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers. He seems most likely to make the Opening Day roster due to his age and contract.
Additionally, the Mets also added Rymer Liriano. The least MLB experienced in the group, he’s a speedy outfielder who could work his way onto the MLB roster at some point this season.
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All four of these men are athletic with speed. Even at nearly 40-years-old, Davis has wheels. The ability to steal a base has been missing from the Mets for the past few seasons. If one of these guys slots in as the team’s fourth or fifth outfielder, this could change.
The problem with these moves is that these men are limited. Beyond their bag-swiping abilities, there isn’t much else. Some can provide good defense, but on offense, there’s a lot to be desired.
Davis and Blanco are lucky if they see any significant playing time against MLB pitchers next year. Each would hover around the Mendoza Line if given the number of at-bats they have received in recent years. Broxton had a miserable year at the plate in 2018 so I’m not really sure what to make of him moving forward. As for Liriano, he’s the least likely in my opinion to see any major league action. However, given the current outfield situation, he could be two injuries away from a roster spot.
The Mets check off one or two boxes with these low-key moves. They have a pinch runner option and that’s about it. Broxton seems most likely to upgrade them on defense, however, I’m not so sure he’s much better than Michael Conforto and Brandon Nimmo in the corner spots or Juan Lagares in center field.
When filling out the roster with the final spots, it’s okay for a team to put an emphasis on one skill. I don’t mind the last guy on the team to have one great talent while waiving the rest.
The downside to the guys the Mets have chosen is that they have other holes left to fill. I suppose this is the case with many transactions. If the Mets end up with a true starting center fielder, these depth additions look fantastic. They are insurance for the inevitable disabled list stint each of the outfielders may spend some time on.
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I’m not sold either way on how these moves will turn out. For now, I’m just glad to see some aggressiveness in free agency to give this team a better shot at fixing any problems they may have midseason.